Finland’s ‘bioeconomy’ could provide roadmap for Maine

When Jaana Husu-Kallio talks about her country, it is easy to forget she doesn’t live in Maine.

She has a deep respect for forests and the many industries they support. The same goes for coastal fisheries, local agriculture and thousands of fresh water lakes that dot the country. Even recounting tales of moose hunting along logging roads sounds familiar.

As the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, Husu-Kallio isn’t devoted to Maine. But she does think her country’s campaign to develop a “bioeconomy” anchored in forest products, foods and renewable energy holds lessons for the state.

“The challenges are the same, in the same way,” she said in an interview.

Husu-Kallio is visiting Maine for her first time this week to meet with economic development, trade and industry officials. She will give the keynote address at the annual Trade Day Friday in Portland put on by the Maine International Trade Center.

The focus of this year’s conference is Maine’s place in the global bioeconomy based on renewable resources for traditional and advanced products – everything from aquaculture to microorganisms to biobased materials and fuel.

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